New data from The Food Industry Center's Continuous Food Safety/Defense Tracking (CFST) study shows that consumer concern over the Gulf Oil Spill's impact on seafood safety has started to decline. Although 85% of those surveyed in our national sample over the past 4 weeks (the weeks of July 19th through August 9th) still express some degree of concern over the risk the oil spill poses to Gulf seafood, this percentage has declined from 92% in the previous four weeks (June 24th through July 12th). Also, the proportion of Americans expressing extreme concern over the safety of Gulf seafood fell from 53% in previous four weeks to 41% in the most recent four weeks.
Further, the percent of those surveyed who indicated that they would not change their seafood eating habits rose from 43% to 47% in the most recent 4 weeks.
Although consumer concern clearly still runs high, it appears that the upward trend of concern since the start of the oil spill has peaked and is beginning to wane; as news coverage is reporting the oil spill has been brought under control.
CFST research is a joint project between The Food Industry Center and the Louisiana State University AgCenter with funding from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. The study's Perceived Preparedness Index (PPI) measures the change in consumers' belief about how prepared government and private companies are to respond to food safety incidents. The study's Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) measures the change in consumers' confidence in the safety of the U.S. food system. When the indexes were initiated in May 2008, only 30 percent of consumers indicated that they believed the food supply was safer than one year ago.